Resistance to Pleasure

Pleasure sounds appealing. And it’s good for you. So why on earth would anyone resist it? Crazy as it sounds, we do it all the time. To find out why, Pilar talks to three experts — teachers from Lafayette Morehouse — about how we can move beyond our negative social conditioning to embrace pleasure with more confidence and ease.

It’s high time we had a serious talk about pleasure. Because it can have a huge positive impact on your health, because it’s fun— and because (weirdly) a lot of it avoid it like crazy.

This week, in en effort to make sense of that conundrum, we’re bringing you the first in a series of special guest episodes featuring teachers from Lafayette Morehouse, an intentional community founded in 1968 with the goal of maximizing the potential of its members, and on having life be, in their words, “as much fun as possible.”

One fundamental principle of Morehouse teachings is that they don’t prescribe solutions or try to fix anybody (they think you’re perfect the way you are). Rather, they simply describe what they’ve seen work (and not work) in closely observing their own lives and the lives of others. And their #1 rule is this: Don’t do anything you don’t want to do.

In this first of four Lafayette Morehouse episodes that we’ll share over the course of the next two seasons of the The Living Experiment, Pilar talks to teachers Judy St. John, Colin Selig and Janet Raibaldi about a dynamic they call “Resistance to Pleasure.”

Here, they describe their approach to “responsible hedonism,” and offer some useful strategies and perspective shifts that might just help you enjoy more pleasure and fun in your own life.

“Resistance to Pleasure” Episode Highlights

  • A little background on Lafayette Morehouse and Pilar’s reasons for recording this episode series
  • Why we are inclined to resist pleasure, and to view it with suspicion and ambivalence
  • Our childhood conditioning to avoid things that appeal to us
  • Our adult misconception that hard work and success are the best (or only) paths to pleasure
  • “No pain, no gain” and the fallacy that pleasure must be earned
  • The importance of prioritizing pleasure on a daily basis vs. just waiting for it to happen
  • Why gratified people are more functional, creative and energized
  • Pro-pleasure strategy: Start by noticing and approving of the good things already in your life, and add in more pleasure and fun wherever you can
  • The necessity of going from good to better (and how that’s different from going from bad to good)

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Please note that while neither this episode nor its show notes includes any graphic or explicit sexual content, it does reference sensual experiences, and the links within this section may take you to sites through which you may discover more explicit content. Please explore at your own discretion.

  • The main Lafayette Morehouse site: “48 Years of Pleasurable Group Living.”
  • Lafayette Morehouse’s foundational course, “Basic Sensuality”.
  • The Morehouse origins of the 15-minute sensual practice that Tim Ferris highlighted in his book, The Four Hour Body (Morehouse teachings have inspired many other recent bodies of work, too — generally without the larger life philosophy and relational context in which the practice was originally grounded).
  • Dr. Linda Carroll’s Love Cycles work, referenced by Pilar (five essential stages of lasting love, and where we tend to get stuck or bail on the relationship.
  • Barbara Fredrickson’s Love 2.0 work, also referenced by Pilar.
  • Pilar’s article “A Real Pleasure”, from Experience Life magazine, which explains the science of pleasure, and references some hormones and neurochemicals (including the feel-good antibacterial agent, proenkephalin) associated with pleasure.
  • “Eating for Pleasure”, another great piece from Experience Life magazine by conscious-eating expert Marc David, MA.

PLUS . . .